HIFF Newsletter • June 4, 2019




June 15 • 7 pm • Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre

Director Konstantina Kotzamani is one of the most exciting voices to emerge from the “Greek Weird Wave,” and HIFF is thrilled to present a retrospective of experimental short films from her eerily beautiful world on June 15 at 7 pm.

The program will feature the award-winning Limbo (2016), Washingtonia (2014), and Morning Prayers (2013), which was co-directed by Katarina Stanković. From the uncanny story of a beached whale to the red-beetle-resistant palm trees of Athens, these stories feel like passed-down ancient myths or half-remembered dreams. The films’ lush colours and landscapes will transport you and leave you wondering what is real and what is an illusion. Konstantina has shown her shorts internationally and won numerous awards including both the European Film Academy and Greek Film Academy’s award for best short film in 2014.

Tickets are available here.

"Kotzamani’s work contains elements of the heightened reality and surrealism of her fellow so-called Weird Wavers, but it also possesses a lyricism and poetry all its own."
— Penelope Bartlett, criterion.com

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Following the screening, Konstantina Kotzamani will join us via video conference for an audience Q&A. 

Check out the trailer for Limbo here:




by Ursula Handleigh
OPENING: June 12 • 6 pm • Neptune Theatre Lobby

Throughout the festival, artist Ursula Handleigh's cameraless dual-film installation In the space between memory and loss will be on display in the Neptune Theatre lobby. Every year, HIFF presents an expanded-cinema project in an effort to get audiences thinking about and enjoying film outside the traditional theatre experience.

In the space between memory and loss explores the repetitive act of remembering and the erosion of memory. The two films are created without the use of a camera, instead relying on additive and reductive processes of the hand to etch away emulsion on each frame.

Through the gesture of memory and the memory of gesture, the films, both absent and present in their materiality, are moving yet still; the subtlety of the hand continually present and ever changing.

Experience In the space between memory and loss for yourself free of charge for the duration of HIFF—no festival pass or ticket required!

Click here for more details. 


HIFF 2019's Distribution Initiative brings industry experts to Halifax to share their knowledge with local filmmakers and the wider community. This year we welcome Sylvia Jonescu Lisitza from Moving Images Distribution and Jacquelyn Hébert from VUCAVU, who will host a pair of workshops covering topics from digital asset preparation and online film distribution to distributor relations.

For more details, visit our website.

HIFF's Distribution Initiative takes place Saturday June 15, 11am–2pm. Attendance at the distribution workshops is included for HIFF 2019 passholders who RSVP or $10 for single admission. Purchase your tickets or RSVP here.

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Where are you from originally?

A small fishing village, next to the beach, called Cap Pelé, New Brunswick. 

What was the inspiration for the film you’re presenting at HIFF?

We wanted to explore the feeling you get when you go into the forest and are surrounded by nature. 

What films or filmmakers inspired you to make your own?

We are inspired by a lot of different filmmakers including Hayao Miyazaki, Stanley Kubrick and Sofia Coppola. Visually stunning movies like The ShiningSpirited Away and The Virgin Suicides inspire us to create universes where our ideas can come to life. 

What’s your most memorable theatre-going experience and why?

2001: A Space Odyssey on 70 mm in Paris, France. Also, a special showing of Freddy vs. Jason on Halloween night. The theatre was divided in two: a Freddy side and a Jason side. You had to pick which side you wanted. We chose the Freddy side. 

Where are you from originally?

Melbourne, Australia, but I have Russian and Jewish roots, and I come from a long line of immigrants. 

What was the inspiration for the film you’re presenting at HIFF?

I've been doing a lot of work around mental health, and my friend and I ended up doing a strange, spontaneous artist residency in an enormous warehouse that sold second-hand items. We developed this concept of everyday objects having personalities and I ended up writing diary entries from their perspective. All of these writings were based on my lived experience and related to the type of object it was (e.g. an old mirror was talking about self-reflection, and an old kettle was talking about feeling under a lot of pressure). 

A few months later another friend of mine was hosting a hand-made film festival and invited me to make something to submit. I'd never used analog film before, but they handed me a camera and some Super 8 and I spent a day shooting. They helped me process the film in their bathroom with seaweed developer, and then I added voice-over and music and did a little digital editing. 

What's your most memorable theatre-going experience and why?

I find the most memorable theatre experiences are when I'm actively participating, whether as a creator, or as audience interaction. When I engage with the theatre I want to feel agency. I find improv shows very powerful and memorable—something about how genuinely surprised the actors are by what comes out their mouths is really captivating, and energetically it feels like the performers are co-creating the show with the audience. 

What are your hobbies or pastimes that aren't related to film?

I run a non-profit called Dramatic Changes and we make all sorts of ridiculous and powerful arts things. I do some virtual reality development, and bookmaking, and songwriting and production. 

HIFF's Atlantic Auteurs shorts program — Friday, June 14 at 9 pm
These films will screen along with nine other works made by established and up-and-coming filmmakers from across the region. Learn more about the full program here. 

View our 2019 trailer below to get a sneak peek at this year's selections:


HIFF wouldn't be possible without the generous support of Telefilm Canada—co-presenters of HIFF's opening night screening of Une Colonie. For over 50 years, Telefilm Canada has supported the success of the Canadian audiovisual industry. Thanks for all that you do!

About HIFF

Now in its 13th year, HIFF provides a unique venue for filmmakers and media artists to share their work in a forum dedicated to the celebration of independent cinema. Since its inception, HIFF has showcased the Atlantic region's most innovative works alongside the films of acclaimed visiting artists. As a filmmaker's festival, HIFF brings the directors of the works we show to Halifax in order to create opportunities for them to connect directly with audiences and local artists through hosted Q+A's, artist talks and workshops. HIFF also presents a number of professional development initiatives, designed to assist local filmmakers with improving their skills and getting their films programmed at festivals around the world.   


HIFF is made possible with support from AFCOOP, the province of Nova Scotia, Canadian Heritage, Arts Nova Scotia, the City of Halifax, The Coast and Telefilm Canada.

ABOUT AFCOOP: Established in 1974 the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) is a non-profit, community organization dedicated to supporting the production and presentation of independent film and moving image-based work in a collaborative, learning environment.

AFCOOP operates with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Nova Scotia and the City of Halifax.